Re Feb. 26 article by Doug Ferguson, “Bradley, Clark the face of long-putter debate”
Someone once said that golf is a game “played with implements totally inadequate to get the job done.” Divine intervention helped that perfect quote! Others have called golf clubs “gardening tools” and others yet some truly unprintable names.
After 50 years of playing small ball as a rank amateur, I must confess to having played with more different makes of clubs and putters than I care to admit. I still find it amazing how much money I have spent over the years and achieving such little success for my time, effort and golf ball expenses. (Not to mention golf travel, greens fees and club memberships … and of course, the gin rummy games in the card room trying to recoup my loses for the day). Truly an addictive and troubling way to spend one’s “leisure” time. As all golfers know, there is nothing “leisure” about anything in this game.
But I digress. We have all seen players using golf clubs that could scoop a square yard of sand from a trap, and flat putter blades so thin you could shave roast beef with them. Then too, we’ve all seen those putters with heads large enough to mine iron ore or break large stones in the garden at home.
Most interesting is the putter handle, the grips, and the lengths. Some putter shafts are so short that by the 18th green, the player needs medical attention to stand up straight. And then there’s the long putter shafts. Some are so long, one needs a flag-holder holster strapped around their neck to anchor the thing firmly. This is all hysterical you’ll agree, especially watching someone of great girth trying to operate a true, in the belly, belly putter. But enough idle golf banter.
I truly believe that all of these irregularities in golf equipment have come about by the inability of both the Royal & Ancient in Scotland, and the USGA to properly monitor all makes, models, designs and intended use of all of these clubs before they were allowed on the PGA circuits. It’s like NASCAR, you slip in a tricky widget to beat your competition, and you get busted. All new golf equipment should have to go through its own Q -School and be approved for everyone prior to going on tour.
So now comes crunch time. How do you tell the user with the long stick who has made lots of cash over the years that his putter is now illegal after hundreds of tournaments all these years? Some want the free swing only theory back, some want the anchor theory to stay. Here is my recommendation: Make it stand for all time.
Every professionally registered golfer in the world will vote with the R&A for their choice. A very short vote. Yea or nay, for free swing version – short – or for anchored versions, any length – long. The USGA will hold the same vote for every amateur in the U.S. with a registered handicap. The most votes wins. And everyone must use the version that wins.
Well, that’s the long and short of it from me. Good luck; may you all hit em’ long and straight! Oh, and after this debate, we’ll start looking once again at all the other “devices” you have in the bag!
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.